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Wednesday, 6 November, 2002, 18:20 GMT
Bush triumphs in Congress elections
Walter Mondale concedes defeat
Mondale faces a return to retirement after his defeat
Republicans have scored a dramatic victory in mid-term elections to the US Congress, winning control of the Senate and increasing their majority in the House of Representatives.

The sweep means President George W Bush should find it easier to push through his agenda of tax cuts and enhanced homeland security, as well as giving him stronger backing in the "war on terror".

Republican winners
Florida Governor Jeb Bush
North Carolina senatorial candidate Elizabeth Dole
Georgia senatorial candidate Saxby Chambliss
Minnesota senatorial candidate Norm Coleman
Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle
Republicans hold at least 51 seats in the 100-member Senate, with just Louisiana to declare, where Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu faces a 7 December runoff.

The Republicans also retained their majority in the House of Representatives.

Mr Bush is only the third US president in a century to make mid-term gains, after Franklin Roosevelt in 1934 and Bill Clinton in 1998.

"President Bush and the Republican Party tonight have made history," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.

Republicans won their 51st Senate seat with a narrow win for Norm Coleman in Minnesota over former US Vice-President Walter Mondale.

In these times of defending our way of living President Bush needs this ability to manoeuvre and take action

The Democrats won the penultimate seat to be declared, in South Dakota, where incumbent Tim Johnson narrowly beat challenger John Thune.

Republicans have so far taken 224 of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives - leaving the Democrats trailing with 204.

Thirty-four seats in the 100-seat Senate were being contested as well as 36 of the 50 state governorships.

Governor battles

The Democrats were able to find some consolation in the governorship races, where they will reduce the Republicans' 27-21 advantage.

They achieved key gains in the industrial north, taking the states of Illinois, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Open in new window : In pictures
Click here to see what voters are saying

But they lost out in the south and failed to take Florida, where they had vowed to target Mr Bush's brother Jeb, the incumbent governor.

Election officials in Florida said voting apparently went off without any major hitches, despite anger at the botched election in 2000.

Election official with computer in Georgia
The elections saw the advent of electronic voting in Georgia
Traditionally, the party holding the White House loses seats in the mid-terms, but Mr Bush campaigned feverishly to buck that trend.

House speaker Dennis Hastert described the president's contribution as "invaluable".

Key races that observers were watching closely included:

  • In California, Governor Gray Davis fought off a challenge from Republican Bill Simon after a particularly bitter campaign
  • In Georgia, Republican Saxby Chambliss upset incumbent Senator Max Cleland, a disabled Vietnam War veteran whom he attacked on national security
  • In New Jersey, Democrat Frank Lautenberg won a Senate seat after replacing scandal-plagued incumbent Robert Torricelli on the ballot
  • In North Carolina, Republican Elizabeth Dole - a former transport secretary and the wife of failed presidential candidate Bob Dole - defeated former Clinton aide Erskine Bowles for a Senate seat
  • In Maryland, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the daughter of Robert Kennedy, lost her bid for governor to Republican Congressman Robert Erlich - a blow in a normally Democratic state
  • In Florida, Katherine Harris, the state's former secretary of state who certified President Bush's victory, easily won a House seat
  • In Hawaii, Republican Linda Lingle defeated Democrat Mazie Hirono, to become the state's first female governor and the first from her party for four decades

Both parties spent unprecedented amounts on the campaign, targeting key areas.

Open in new window : US poll results
Click here for a state-by-state guide to seats

Election officials in several states have reported higher than expected turnout for some hotly contested races, but turnout was reportedly thin elsewhere.

Much of the focus had been on the agonisingly close race for the Senate, which the Democrats controlled by just one seat after Vermont Republican Jim Jeffords turned independent.

President George W Bush
"I urge the members of both political parties to come together to get things done"
The BBC's Gillian Ni Cheallaigh
"Christmas came early for George Bush"

Key races




Results Latest: 13:58 GMT
206 seats 227 seats 2 seats
49 seats 51 seats 1 seats
Seats: House/Senate
Democrats: 206 / 49
Republicans: 227 / 51
Independents: 2 / 1
See also:

06 Nov 02 | Americas
06 Nov 02 | Americas
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